The Safety Behaviours Trap

In an attempt to stop the panic we adopt various ‘SAFETY BEHAVIOURS’

Even if we don’t completely avoid situations where we feel anxious we sometimes adopt certain behaviours that we feel may STOP the panic.

Some examples of SAFETY BEHAVIOURS

  • Sitting or lying down
  • Leaning against a wall
  • Going out ‘for air’
  • Opening a window (indoors or in the car)
  • Getting a glass of water
  • Leaving a situation
  • Asking for someone’s help
  • Phoning someone
  • Sitting near an exit
  • Avoiding crowds
  • Carrying your mobile phone – or a ‘reassuring’ object
  • Only visiting friends with whom you feel ‘safe’
  • Only going to places you feel ‘safe’
  • Never going out alone (bringing a ‘safety person’)
  • Avoiding physical exertion (for fear of increased heart rate)
  • Distraction – turning up the TV, radio, humming loudly, engaging in some activity to try to block out the panic
  • Practising relaxation or deep breathing in a frantic attempt to ‘get rid of’ the panic
  • ‘Fighting’ or ‘resisting’ the feelings in an attempt to control them
  • Constantly ‘scanning’ our body to see if the symptoms have gone
  • Making sure we eat a certain food or ‘health’ supplement
  • Making sure we get the ‘exact’ amount of sleep
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Avoiding warm rooms \ hot drinks


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